The Teams Compared.
To judge from appearances, however, Harvard has the advantage in team work. The men play together better, except in the case of the backs. When a Harvard back bucks the line he often has to do it alone. The Yale backs, on the other hand, are sure to help one another. This same difference was noticeable last year. Butterworth's phenomenal line breaking had that for its cause. Still the Harvard team has but just had its fullback picked. This more or less accounts for this year's failure in team work in that one respect.
In defensive play, the Harvard centre has been weaker than Yale's, while the ends were far stronger. In fact, Yale's greatest weakness will be at one end or the other. If the Harvard interference is worked rightly either Brewer or Wrightington can hardly fail to gain ground.
Both teams will play the same style of game, hard and fast at the start. In every exhibition both teams have taken especial pains at snap and aggressiveness. Neither has as yet shown itself able to last out a whole game. Undoubtedly the play will be slower the second half.
Harvard is using rather more styles of play. The rush line players are more often called back and made to run with the ball or help interference. Harvard's interference is open, Yale's is compact, though Harvard's has thus far worked more perfectly.
Individually the Yale players generally excel their opponents. To begin at the Harvard left end, Captain Emmons is an exception to the rule. He is certainly superior to the light and inexperienced Louis Hinkey, and to Greenway, considering the latter's present state of health. Louis Hinkey is not so heavy, so aggressive, and does not know the game so well.
Whether Hallowell or Wheeler plays left tackle, Murphy will outclass either one. He has the advantage of a year's experience, and is a "foxier" player. He will nevertheless have his hands full, for both Wheeler and Hallowell are quicker men.
Mackie and Hickok ought to have a battle royal. Mackie's lack of training may be some handicap. He is older than Hickok, but not so quick at breaking through. Mackie tackles best.
Frank Shaw is undoubtedly inferior to the experienced Stillman. The latter has improved greatly this fall, and gets into every play more consistently. Shaw has worried too much over the game and is a bit under weight. But for a new man he is very strong.
McCrea outclasses Norton Shaw. He has been decried all the season for playing listlessly, but his big height and experience ought to count against a short, new player. But Shaw has improved in a greater ratio than any Harvard player.
If Waters does not out-play Beard, the prophets will all be at fault. He is not so tall, nor so heavy, but he is far speedier, is a better interferer, breaks through better, and knows the game in general better. He has a reputation to recover and can be relied upon to do it.
It would be foolnish to claim A. Brewer to be the superior of Captain Hinkey. Hinkey and Brewer are both shrewd players, both follow the ball to perfection. Hinkey is the quicker man to "size" up a play, and is better at breaking up interference, but he is not playing up to form.
Wrenn and Adee are warm friends and men of much the same calibre, quick, of keen judgment, light in weight. Adee has the advantage of having already played in a Harvard game, and tackles rather more strongly than Wrenn, but the latter's judgment is, on the whole, the better.
Brewer and Wrightington will not quite offset Butterworth and Thorne. Brewer is better and quicker on round the end plays and sharper in finding holes than Butterworth. He is not, however, the line breaker that Butterworth is, and he falls far below him in kicking. Taken all in all, he can not be considered the equal of the man who was last year, America's best back.
Wrightington is rather better than Thorne, and both men have greatly improved since last year. Thorne runs faster and kicks better, but he is more easily tackled, and is not so consistent a player. Wrightington is Harvard's most reliable man.
The third position behind the line is filled by Fairchild and Jerrems respectively. Fairchild is rather light but is a fair punter and has shown some ability in drop-kicking. Jerrems played fine football as a freshman last year and by brilliant playing at the end of the season, has pushed his rival, Armstrong, out of the race for the position.
The teams, then, are very closely matched. Harvard has better team play; Yale, contrary to the usual rule, has the better individual players. Considering that one advantage pretty nearly offsets the other, a tie game would be a possibility but for one fact. Yale is far superior in kicking. This means a great deal, for the game may be largely a kicking one. Brewer is by no means the poor punter he has been considered for the past month, but he cannot punt as Butterworth does. Moreover, there is nobody on the Harvard team who can be relied upon to kick a goal from the field, while Butterworth is the most skillful drop kicker on any team today. Even he, however, rarely does better than one goal in three, so that he is not likely to try for a goal from the field unless hard pressed.
In case Harvard wins the toss and has a wind in her favor the first half, the chances will be with her beyond any doubt; for the wind is sure to die down at the close of the half as the sun gets low, and in a wind Brewer can outpunt Butterworth. It sounds a little unreasonable to place the chances of the game on this one circumstance, but the facts bear out such a judgment. The teams are so evenly matched in ordinary play that, leaving the punting out of consideration, they are likely not to score at all, or else to play a tie game. Accordingly, the side which is stronger in punting will resort to it constantly, and in that way force the other side to punt. The result will be that eventually the side which punts best will gain solely on exchange of kicks and finally score.